Oregon State dreams of toppling No. 4 Stanford
One way for Oregon State to salvage a disappointing season would be to pull off a major upset.
They'll get a chance Saturday, when fourth-ranked Stanford visits Reser Stadium.
''I just have that feeling - the feeling we can beat this team,'' Beavers redshirt freshman defensive end Scott Crichton said this week. ''It's not just me, it's everyone else, too.''
While a win seems unlikely for the 2-6 Beavers, the team does have a colorful history when it comes to unexpected victories.
Take 2008, when the Beavers were 26-point underdogs and defeated top-ranked USC 27-21, a loss that ultimately cost the Trojans a shot at the national championship. Freshman Jacquizz Rodgers ran for 186 yards and instantly became a star.
The year before, Oregon State derailed No. 2 California 31-28 on Oct. 31 in Berkeley. The Golden Bears were on the verge of becoming No. 1 after the top-ranked team that week had lost.
In 2006, Oregon State defeated the No. 3 Trojans, 33-31.
And, of course, there's the renowned Giant Killers of 1967.
Led by former coach Dee Andros, who was known as the Great Pumpkin because of his girth and penchant for orange jackets, the Beavers beat second-ranked Purdue 22-14 in Lafayette before playing to a 16-16 tie at No. 2 UCLA two weeks later.
The team's greatest upset that season came when it downed top-ranked USC 3-0 at Parker Stadium. The Beavers withstood 188 yards rushing by O.J. Simpson, who fumbled with three minutes left on his final carry. Oregon State finished with a 7-2-1 record, but it wasn't enough to get the Beavers to a bowl game. The Trojans claimed the Pac-8 title that year and went on to beat Indiana in the Rose Bowl.
This season's Beavers stumbled from the start when they fell to lower division Sacramento State in the opener. The team's two wins came in the Pac-12 Conference against Arizona and Washington State.
After a disheartening 27-8 loss to Utah last weekend, coach Mike Riley was more realistic about the young team's chances against the Cardinal.
''We're facing a major challenge. This team is very good in all areas, their offense and their quarterback,'' Rile said. ''That's all well documented and outstanding in every way - statistically and by performance.''
Oregon State has four straight losses against ranked opponents, dating to last season.
In Palo Alto last year, the then-No. 7 Cardinal beat the Beavers 38-0. Quarterback Andrew Luck passed for 305 yards and four touchdowns.
Stanford is undefeated this season and coming off a 56-48 triple-overtime victory over USC in Los Angeles, which extended the nation's longest winning streak to 16 games.
The Cardinal (8-0, 6-0 Pac-12) are ranked third in the nation in scoring offense, with 49.50 points per game. Luck has thrown for 23 touchdowns this season with just four interceptions.
Still, many of the Beavers had hope.
''You see their record and you know they're a good team. And I've got a lot of respect for them, but they are just another team. It's us against them, man on man. '' Cornerback Jordan Poyer said. ''It's going to come down to who wants it more. I think if we have a good week of practice and we really focus on the details of our assignments, it's possible.''